Beeple’s NFT-based digital artwork EVERYDAYS just sold for nearly $70 million at Christie’s.
No, seriously, $70 million.
Just having a non-fungible token work on sale at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious auction houses was a major coup for the crypto-based artform.
The work, “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” was described by Christie’s as Beeple’s “monumental digital collage,” of images of art he posted online every day since May 1, 2017.
“The notable differences between the early and later pictures reveal Beeple’s enormous evolution as an artist,” Christie’s said in describing EVERYDAYS. “At the project’s inception, ‘everydays’ were basic drawings. When Beeple started working in 3D, however, they took on abstract themes, colour, form and repetition. Over the past five years, they have became [SIC] increasingly timely, reacting to current events.”
The final price was $69,346,250.
Also, the smart contract built into the NFT—which the auctioneer said was “effectively a guarantee of authenticity”—gives Beeple 10% of the sale price every time the work changes hands, according to Reuters.
Now Beeple—aka Mike Winkelmann—is “among the top three most valuable living artists,” Christie’s said in a tweet shortly after bidding closed at 10 a.m.
“Christie’s had never offered a new media artwork of this scale or importance before,” said Christie’s Noah Davis, a specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art, in a statement. “Acquiring Beeple’s work is a unique opportunity to own an entry in the blockchain itself created by one of the world’s leading digital artists.”
The price tag is all the more impressive because of the last-minute bidding frenzy, as it was at a “mere” $13,750,000 at 8:15 a.m., less than two hours before the close of bidding.
The final minutes were the wildest, according to the New York Times, which noted that the prices was below $30 million “with seconds remaining” when a flurry of bidding forced a two-minute extension, as the rules require a one-minute addition after a bid made in the final minute of the sale.
Christie’s said before the sale that the newness of the art form and seven-figure prices Winkelmann’s art had attracted in the past on NFT-focused sites like Nifty gateway made giving a value estimation impossible.
Which was a good call, given that Winkelmann’s art has surpassed the value of record-setting works by the likes of Eugene Delacroix, Marcel Duchamp and Francisco Goya, the Times noted.